2023 Sessions

Thank you for your help in shaping the 2023 Conference Program!

We are excited about the sessions lined for the conference – click on the title below to read about each session, and the planned presentations for the conference.

Click the session titles below to review descriptions and access abstracts
+ Channeling Innovation - from ideas to implementation

Channeling Innovation – from ideas to implementation

LEADS: Jason Krompart (Beacon Environmental) and Rhonneke Van Riezen (AECOM)

The use of innovative and technological approaches in channel management and design can assist at all stages, from research, baseline studies and design right through to construction and monitoring. These techniques may bring a range of advantages, including more efficient data gathering and processing, opportunities to virtually “test” proposed solutions, reduction in fieldwork requirements and higher quality solutions. However, their application may also require specialized training, equipment or software. Abstracts related to innovation and new technologies may explain how such approaches are helping to address challenges in the industry, changing the way we work and producing new solutions. They may include academic research projects, pilot studies or integration within project work. In each case, presenters are encouraged to consider advantages, limitations and future applications.

Keywords: Case studies, Efficiency, New tools and techniques, Field data collection, Analysis

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+ The Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project: Waterfront Toronto/City of Toronto /TRCA

The Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project: Waterfront Toronto/City of Toronto /TRCA

Leads: Shannon Baker, Waterfront Toronto

The risk of flooding is not often turned into an opportunity in cities. The Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure (PLFP) Project is a $1.25B project, providing flood protection to approximately 250ha of flood vulnerable lands, transforming ~30 hectares of industrial brownfields into a naturalized, multi-outlet river valley system with associated channel spanning infrastructure, while unlocking the area for revitalization and facilitating billions of dollars in investment.  PLFPEI will improve quality of life, bring nature back to an underused industrial site and better protect our neighbourhoods from extreme weather conditions.

We look at a comprehensive vision for the renaturalization of the river, one that envisions recreating a river which then acts as an organizing structure for a system of new parks and public open spaces that will become catalysts for a range of memorable activities and experiences. At the intersection of two major systems – urban waterfront and natural river corridor – this session will focus on flood control, naturalization, and placemaking efforts to bring the Don River Valley and the Toronto’s public realm together in a robust and meaningful way.

This session will highlight the major project elements from river valley constructability, hydraulics and sediment transport to sustainable placemaking that combine to make the Port Lands Flood Protection and Enabling Infrastructure Project one of the most significant changes to the Lake Ontario shoreline in decades, and one of largest infrastructure projects in Canada.

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+ Overcoming Unexpected Challenges: design, implementation and post-construction

Overcoming Unexpected Challenges: design, implementation and post-construction

Leads: Michael Lawson (GEO Morphix Ltd) and Jason Krompart (Beacon Environmental)

This session will focus on the unanticipated challenges, opportunities and lessons learned, that may arise during the planning, design, implementation, and monitoring of natural channel design or ecological restoration projects.  Project managers, designers and contractors strive to research and document as much background information as possible to develop and implement a successful channel or ecological design that functions in theory, concept and reality. This session seeks to identify miss-steps and retrospective critiques, culminating in lessons that can serve as examples to others working on projects with similar circumstances. Some examples may include unanticipated situations, design assumptions that didn’t reflect current site conditions due to time lapse between design and implementation, and cases of ‘right solution, wrong setting’, among others. Join us in a friendly discussion of how natural channel design and construction complications were overcome, all towards a better understanding of sound science, engineering and construction, and the uncertainties that come with implementation.

Keywords: Field fit, Site conditions, Constraints, Construction, Monitoring

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+ Design Parameters - balancing approaches and setting

Design Parameters – balancing approaches and setting

Leads: Mariëtte Pushkar (Matrix Solutions Inc.), Cailey McCutcheon (GeoProcess Research Associates) and Imran Khan (Momentum Earth Sciences Ltd.)

Channel restoration or relocation designs typically require the selection of parameters to develop cross-sections, profile, and planform and to determine an appropriate substrate gradation. Integral to this is quantification of design flows and determining the appropriate channel form given setting and site controls; this needs to be balanced with risk management.  There are various methods and relations that can be used to derive design parameters, but not all are equally reliable; nuances about application of the methods are not always recognized, nor suitability for the site considered.   All restoration designs need to balance the needs and wants of the different disciplines involved in the project; the objectives may be inconsistent.

This conference session provides an opportunity to review various methods, models, and information sources to determine design parameters, and the limitations thereof including in the context of site constraints.  Topics could review design flow, sediment transport, empirical relations for cross-section, planform or profile configurations on their own, or their ability to represent site conditions when compared/contrasted to field observations.   Balancing design approaches and materials with long term sustainability of the design, given site conditions and risk can also be explored.  Consideration of balancing risk and constraints with channel form is also applicable.

Keywords: Site specific considerations, Methods, Constraints, Multi-disciplinary

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+ Success Through Infrastructure Failure: A Review of Natural Channel Restoration in Urban Systems

Success Through Infrastructure Failure: A Review of Natural Channel Restoration in Urban Systems

Leads: John Stille (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority)

In previous decades, many of the watercourses in urban systems were modified through channelization and armouring. The intent was typically to improve flood water conveyance, but this practice can in fact increase the chances of flooding downstream due to hydraulic pinch points. The channelization and armouring of these watercourses has also severely limited their ability to sustain biological function. Many of these channels have reached or are now nearing the end of their operational life expectancy and are in various states of disrepair. Failing channel infrastructure is now contributing to erosion in many places, which has raised the risk of localized flooding as well as damage to adjacent property and infrastructure. In recent years, through multi agency partnerships, many programs and projects have been initiated to find natural channel design solutions to this issue. A review of the successes and challenges associated with urban stream restoration with practical examples provided by the engineers, designers, project managers, practitioners and planners are beneficial to the build on positive outcomes and minimize negative impacts.

Keywords: Project Review, Urban Infrastructure, Storm Water Management, Key Performance Indicators, Practitioners, Restoration

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+ Role of Machine Learning and Modelling in Fluvial Geomorphology and Watershed Hydrology

Role of Machine Learning and Modelling in Fluvial Geomorphology and Watershed Hydrology

Leads: Adeyemi Olusola (York University) and Corey Dawson (Dalhousie University)

River dynamics are complex and difficult to predict. Machine learning, and new means of data collection (e.g., remote sensing, GIS) offer up new possibilities for understanding these processes, and ultimately improve channel restoration efforts. This session aims to highlight recent work that uses these approaches to understanding river dynamics (e.g., machine learning, combinations of machine learning and field-based observations, GIS solutions). We welcome those interested in furthering this conversation and looking to learn more about machine learning algorithms in fluvial geomorphology.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence, Modelling, Classification, Process-based Approaches, GIS and Remote Sensing Applications

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+ Success Through Resilience: Planning for Resilient Municipal Infrastructure

Success Through Resilience: Planning for Resilient Municipal Infrastructure

Leads: Hazel Breton (City of Toronto), Daniel McCreery (City of Toronto), Devin Coone (City of Toronto) and Geoff Cole (City of Toronto)

Municipalities are facing unprecedented impacts to the requirement to maintain a state of good repair for their infrastructure. In particular stormwater infrastructure, including natural infrastructure such as stream corridors, are particularly subject to impacts from high intensity, short duration storm events. Traditional analyses of looking at past precipitation patterns and flow regimes are no longer appropriate. Incorporating resilience into our infrastructure requires an understanding of our changing climate, developing levels of service for key infrastructure, and recognizing the importance of the role of stream corridors to the health and well-being of the community that include supporting: biodiversity, good water quality and protection from flooding and erosion.

Keywords: Infrastructure, Planning and Master Planning, Looking Forward, Multi-objectives

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+ Ecohydraulics in Design: Fish Passage and Habitat Suitability

Ecohydraulics in Design: Fish Passage and Habitat Suitability

Leads: Paul Villard (GEO Morphix Ltd. & University of Guelph), Lindsay Davis (GEO Morphix Ltd.) and John Tweedie (GEO Morphix Ltd.)

Intersection of hydraulics, fluid mechanics, biology and ecology, and channel corridor design.  We welcome presentations that examine hydraulics and design considerations within the bankfull channel and the greater floodplain.  Both fish passage and overall habitat suitability presentations are encouraged.  This includes both design approaches, considerations in habitat restoration, modelling, and observations/measurements from natural analogues.

Keywords: Restoration, Habitat Creation/Conservation, Barrier Removal, Monitoring, Modelling, Ecology

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+ Stream Power Based Approaches to Watershed Management

Stream Power Based Approaches to Watershed Management

Leads: Sally Betts (Credit Valley Conservation) & Christina Bright (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority)

The lack of reliable watershed-scale sediment transport models represents an ongoing and consequential knowledge gap in our understanding of watershed systems. Stream power represents the rate of energy expenditure along a watercourse. It has a direct relationship with sediment transport which can be used to understand sediment dynamics across a range of spatial and temporal scales. In this session, the focus will be on using stream power to understand erosion potential and change in erosion potential in light of climate and land use change to inform erosion management at a watershed scale.

Keywords: Stream power, Erosion risk, Sediment transport processes, Watershed management

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+ Building Resilient Watersheds as Natural Infrastructure for Climate Change Adaptation

Building Resilient Watersheds as Natural Infrastructure for Climate Change Adaptation

Leads: Roger Phillips (Matrix Solutions Inc. & University of Toronto), Joanna Eyquem (Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation, University of Waterloo) and Quentin Chiotti (Matrix Solutions Inc.)

Natural channel design and watershed management have developed over recent decades with a focus on river habitat restoration, while also facilitating management of flooding and erosion hazards.  With a growing need for public investment in climate adaptation, channels and floodplains are increasingly important as natural infrastructure assets to increase climate change resilience. Canada’s new National Adaptation Strategy, including the renewed Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, promote greater consideration and investment in natural infrastructure, and natural channels are the centrepiece of many projects. This is an opportunity for industry to increase the use of natural infrastructure, as a complement to grey infrastructure, for climate adaptation. This session intends to explore the evolving science of flood and erosion hazard management that is contributing to building more resilient watersheds, including novel approaches for planning and designing natural stream corridors. To emphasize downstream connectivity in the drainage network and integrated watershed management, this session aims to include a variety of examples across the landscape from rural to urban watercourses and from headwaters to estuaries.

Keywords: Climate Adaptation, Natural Hazard Management, Thinking Upstream and Downstream, Nature-based Solutions, Strategic Approaches

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+ Poster Session